Man pleads guilty in fatal drunk driving crash, jury to decide sentence

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A Texarkana man pleaded guilty Tuesday to intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault in connection with a May 1, 2020, crash that ended one life and seriously injured another.

Kendrick Aaron Sauls, 22, has requested that a jury determine his sentence. Sauls appeared with attorney Butch Dunbar of Texarkana before 5th District Judge Bill Miller on Monday. A sentencing trial is scheduled for jury selection May 18 at the courthouse.

Sauls faces 2 to 20 years for intoxication manslaughter and 2 to 10 years for intoxication assault.

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Sauls was driving a Dodge pickup when he collided with a Hyundai Santa Fe at the intersection of Summerhill Road and New Boston Road in Texarkana, Texas. Sauls ran a red light. Both the Hyundai’s driver and passenger Mario Haynes, 36, were seriously injured. Haynes did not survive.

After the crash, officers observed a bottle of “Steel Reserve” on the ground next to the driver’s side of the truck, according to a probable cause affidavit. The first officer to approach Sauls reported that Sauls was yelling at his passenger, “Just kill me,” following the wreck.

The Hyundai’s driver suffered a variety of injuries including a broken neck, broken collar bone, fractured ribs, lacerated liver, broken bones in both hands and a skull fracture. The driver’s child suffered minor scrapes from flying glass and debris.

Hayes suffered a severe brain bleed, facial fractures and skull fracture.

Sauls is being held in the Bowie County jail. Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter is prosecuting.

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